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>>> good evening, welcome to self defense or murder, in depth look at the george zimmerman trial. every night, all this week, we are going to be recapping what happened in the florida courtroom, break it down with some of the greatest legal minds. this is a controversial, racially charged case, we will bring extended moments from the court proceedings so you can decide for yourself what really happened that terrible night in sanford, florida. george zimmerman is accused of second degree murder. he was a neighborhood watch captain when he shot martin. he doesn't deny pulling the trigger. the case hinges on why he shot the african-american teenager. zimmerman says it was self defense. the jury of six women will decide the case. the trial began today in dramatic fashion, an f bomb, knock knock joke, and then apology for the knock knock joke. you'll hear it all momentarily. first, david mattingly brings us up to the minute. >> police fire and medical. >> i heard a shot behind my house. >> shock, confusion, fear, you hear it in the voice of every 911 caller in the final moments of tra
trial, the defense finally wrapped up its questioning of rachel jeantel, the 19-year-old who was on the phone with trayvon martin moments before he was killed. this cross-examination lasted five hours over two days. also today, testimony from the neighbor who made the 911 call, where loud screaming can be heard, and then a gunshot. jurors heard her account of that scream. and today another witness testified she saw george zimmerman on top of trayvon martin after the altercation. she is the third witness to say so. but for most of the day, rachel jeantel faced questions from the zimmerman defense team. and they tried to undermine her story. the defense repeatedly raised questions about her version of events, but she did not waiver from her testimony that trayvon martin did not confront george zimmerman. >> he said why are you following me for, didn't he? >> no, sir, not that kind of way, sir. >> it was just a question, hey, mister, why are you following me for? >> he say hey, mister, why are you following me, for. he just asked the question, why are you following me for. >> an
doubt over at least one claim the defendant used to justify self-defense. >> did you ever see the person on top slamming the person on the bottom's head on the concrete over and over and over? >> no. >> did you see at any time the person on top grab the person on the bottom's head and slam it to the concrete? >> no. >> they may prove to be somewhat important because george zimmerman says he pulled the trigger after trayvon martin repeatedly rammed his head into the concrete pavement inside a gated community in central florida in february of 2012. prosecutors say it was murder, plain and simple. that witness, former neighbor of george zimmerman, compared the teenager's position to the mixed martial arts technique, known as ground and pound. >> usually when the person is on top, and in amounted position, believe, and in a dominant position. but like i said the person on the bottom is able to get out of that position or throw punches back, but i did not see that. >> a powerful word, dominant position. lawyers from both sides worked to re-enact the struggle in the confines of the courtroom.
-examination, manalo seemed to incapsulate with the entire defense, what zimmerman told him and with the body of the teenager nearby. >> this guy was beating me up and, i shot him. >> and i had to defend myself and i shot him. >> i'm sorry? >> i was defending myself and i shot him. >> so this guy was beating me up. i was defending myself, and i shot him is what he told you? >> yes. >> without he is take. >> no. >> and from what you could tell at the moment it seemed completely true? >> yes. >> reporter: testimony later from a police officer who was one of the first responders on the scene seemed to align with zimmerman's claims. >> was his jacket pushed up in any way? >> i don't believe so. >> did you see any tears in his jacket? >> no, sir. >> what, if anything, did you notice about the condition of his jacket? >> the back of it was wetter than the front of it, and it was also covered in grass. >> martin, the last witness of the day was a physician's assistant who treated george zimmerman's injuries the day after the shooting. she testified zimmerman was familiar with mixed marshall arts. ex
a short break, it was the defense's turn. lawyer don west gave jurors an alternate version of events that night, that george zimmerman acted in self-defense. >> i think the evidence will show that this is a sad case. that there are no monsters here. george zimmerman is not guilty of murder. he shot trayvon martin in self-defense after being viciously attacked. and here is the evidence that will show you how and why it happened the way it did. >> george zimmerman sees trayvon martin in a spot and he caught his attention, caught george zimmerman's attention. little did george zimmerman know at the time that in less than ten minutes from him first seeing trayvon martin, that he, george zimmerman, would be sucker punched in the face, have his head pounded on concrete, and wind up shooting and tragically killing trayvon martin. >> the defense opening statement lasted two and a half hours. the prosecution's opening just 30 minutes. two very different approaches today as the jury began considering whether george zimmerman is guilty of killing trayvon martin. joining me now is former prosecu
the person on the bottom had a light erskined color. >> defense attorney mark o'mara then kneeled down to demonstrate the tussle between zimmerman and martin. >> the person on the top was back against where? >> it was the same person that was on top whether they were t shaped to the sidewalk. >> so they did not -- >> colors. >> i'm sorry sorks th, they did change positions, did that? >> a lot to get to tonight involving star witness rachel jeantel, the high school classmate joins me in a moment for an exclusive interview. this is "piers morgan live." >>> martin, dramatic day today and if to date we felt that perhaps the state was beginning to win the argument, today very much a better day you would say for the defense? >> reporter: absolutely and ironically, piers, the witnesses were supposed to be on the stand for the state, but it appears the testimony they gave benefits the defense. the question has been who was on top? what i mean by that is that the defense has maintained it was george zimmerman on the ground being beaten by 17-year-old trayvon martin, but up until now, the witnes
analyst lisa bloom, and defense attorney ken padowitz. faith, john good's testimony, what does it mean for george zimmerman's claim of self-defense and therefore justifiable homicide? >> well, this was a prosecution witness, first of all, remember. they called him first. they already knew what he was going to say. he has already been deposed. so they knew he was going to come in and be the only witness to say that he saw what he believed now to be trayvon martin on top of george zimmerman and making downward motions towards him. now, for the defense, this is huge because they are alleging self-defense. that zimmerman had to shoot trayvon. he had no other choice but to shoot him to save his life. so this supports their theory of the case. this was a very good witness for them today. >> let me go to you, ken. when you heard good's testimony, do you feel as faith said that he established that george zimmerman had no choice but to kill trayvon martin? >> this was a tremendous day for the defense. i mean, remember, they don't have to prove their client innocent. he is already presumed innoc
. >>> good evening. welcome to our special continuing coverage. self-defense or murder, the george zimmerman trial. every night this week, we'll be digging deeper with the best legal team around and frequently with the principals in the case themselves. tonight, powerful, emotional testimony about trayvon martin's final moments and a legal battle over the 911 tapes. from six months before the 911 tapes that were recorded before the shooting, recordings the state believes will speak to george zimmerman's state of mind to his unjustified suspicion, they say, of trayvon martin. first, the latest on everything that happened today from martin savidge who joins us now. so, what new evidence do we hear today in the courtroom? >> reporter: it was photographs, anderson. i've seen all the photographs in this case, but i had not seen these before. these were photographs of the body of trayvon martin laying on the ground. i don't care who you are, they have a strong impact to see a young person you know lying lifeless on the ground. so clearly it would impact the jurors and it impacted everyone else in
stopping for clarification, and the defense complained repeatedly. >> give your answers as slowly and clearly and as loudly as you can. >> reporter: she painted a picture of a teenager feeling threatened, and on the run from a strange man. >> i asked him how the man looked like. he looked like a creepy ass cracker. >> let me make sure we got that. creepy -- >> ass cracker. >> yeah. is that what you recall him saying? >> yes. >> does that to you mean like a white individual? >> yes, caucasian. >> reporter: she told the court trayvon martin tried to walk home and get away from the man. but that he continued to pursue him. >> then he said he's still following me now. >> excuse me? >> that person is still following me. >> did he use a word to describe that? >> reporter: she said she could hear trayvon talking to the stranger over the phone. >> then i said trayvon. and then he said why are you following me for? and then i heard a man say what are you doing around here. >> reporter: then she said she heard a bump and struggle in the grass. she said she kept yelling for her friend to tal
the defense's contention that zimmerman was the one on the bottom of the struggle, at least at a certain point? >> well, the prosecution knew this witness was going to be testifying. they obviously knew it wasn't going to be helpful for them. they very wisely put him in their case kind of in the middle of it so that he doesn't become the critical show piece part of the defense case later on. accomplishes a couple of things. first of all, the prosecution isn't hiding anybody. that's valuable. second, though, he is somewhat in the middle of it. the prosecution is hoping that as other things happen, the jury is going to spend less time thinking about this witness. because one thing is for sure, if during the verdict and the time of the deliberations for the verdict, if the jury keeps asking for the testimony to be read back to them of this witness, that's not a good sign for the prosecution. >> okay. really just quickly, i want to play john good's 911 call, or at least part of it so our viewers can take a listen. go ahead. >> you can hear somebody yelling for help? >> um, i'm pretty sure the guy'
the shooting was coherent, compliant, and calm. that helps the prosecution in one sense. it helps the defense in another sense. it helps the defense because he's compliant. when law enforcement came, he immediately identified himself as the shooter, put up his hands, identified he had a firearm, and answered all of their questions. but he was also very, very calm. according to one witness kind of strangely so. he didn't seem to be in shock and didn't look back at the body of trayvon martin even though he had just shot him. >> we just saw the police officer testifying to whether or not there was blood in the car when he was taken to the station house. so have we established how injured george zimmerman may or may not have been and what that goes to it the altercation they may or may not have had? >> the defense has taken every opportunity today to put up those photos of george zimmerman's head, the front shot that shows swelling to his nose and some lacerations to his nose and the shot behind his head. he had very short hair back then. almost a shaved head. you could clearly see the back of hi
one. will he testify? will george zimmerman take the stand in his own defense? so far i've not heard any physical evidence of his life under threat. so therefore it leaves whether he felt that? well, the only one that put that evidence in is him. will he take the stand? that's what i want to know. and that's what i'll be watching for. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. have a good weekend. "hardball" starts right now. >>> a good day for the defense or a wash? let's play "hardball." >>> good evening. i'm joy reid in for chris matthews. leading off tonight, the final seconds. what happened in the last moments before the shooting death of trayvon martin? in court today, one of george zimmerman's neighbors, john good said he heard what sounded like a fight that night and stepped outside his town house to see what was going on. what he saw, according to the neighbor, was what appeared to be zimmerman lying on his back with trayvon martin straddling and punching him. he used a mixed martial art term, ground and pound, to describe what martin was doing. good also testified t
the stand today for a second day and face add heated cross examination from the defense. >> if you thought it was just a fight because it was one you knew trayvon martin was planning to start? >> no, sir. he would have told me, sir, and told me to call him back or he'll call me back, sir. >> martin savidge is outside the courthouse. martin, a rather dramatic change in the way that she conducted herself today. >> reporter: oh, yeah, absolutely, piers. that's what everybody nope 'tissed, she dressed slightly different but she had been advised. she sounded that way, too, with of course, the yes, sir. unfortunately, just as you point out, the more she said yes, sir, it got a sharper and sharper edge to it. the defense worked very hard to try to disappoint semible her account. john west wanted to show she gave testimony prior to getting on the stand that was different from on the stand. just as you played that tense showdown, there were a number of them where they went toe to toe. she's 19 and he's a veteran defense expert and she held her ground on serious issues she stood firm. the question i
-examination from the defense. >> if you thought it was just a fight because it was one you knew trayvon martin was planning to start? >> no, sir. he would have told me, sir, and told me to call him back or he'll call me back, sir. >> you didn't have information from the news this was racially charged. >> no, i don't watch the news. >> okay. are you okay this morning? >> yes. >> you seem so different than yesterday, just checking. did someone talk -- >> is that a question? >> yes, did someone talk with you last night about your >> you didn't have information ffrom the news this was racially charged. >> no, i don't watch the news. >> okay. are you okay this morning? >> yes. >> you seem so different than yesterday, just checking. did someone talk -- >> is that a question? >> yes, did someone talk with you last night about your demeanor in court yesterday? >> no, i went to sleep. >> i went to sleep. i watched most of it, martin, live today and found it quite gripping because they have a 19-year-old not very well educated young girl, up against a super bright criminal attorney on the attack, and i
bloom, and florida defense attorney ken padowitz. thank you all for being here. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you for having me. >> lisa, how does this crime scene evidence, including these photos of trayvon martin's body, affect the jury at this point in the trial? >> you know, i think it's very powerful. i've analyzed many murder cases. and yet when i saw these photos on any monitor today, i'm watching the entire trial. >> i had to gasp. i mean i know this is a case about a young man whose life was taken. i knew it was coming. but still, it's very disturbing to see the photos of a young man, 17 years old, with a bullet hole through him. it has to affect any human being. >> "i knew it was coming", you said. faith we all knew it was coming, but it got real today. this is about a real life lost, all of what goes with that. the scene of him dying, the scene of the bullet wound, and there is mothers on that jury, faith. >> and this is now not just a charge on an indictment on a piece of paper anymore. it's not a movie. this is real life. the jurors, they saw trayvon martin's father
-examination. and the defense is trying to bring out inconsistencies even lies that she has told in this case, and so far, they've gotten her to acknowledge two that she lied about not going to mar ten's wake. she said she had been in the hospital. it turns out she just did not want to go because it was emotionally upsetting for her to do that. he got her to concede she had lied about her age saying she was 16 when she was 18 in the hopes of protecting her privacy and avoiding the situation she's in now having to testify in this very public trial. >> as she was talking, lisa, it was palpable, one could see that she didn't want to meet with trayvon martin's parents because she knew that they were grieving about their dead son. >> right. >> and she repeatedly tried to convey that to the attorney. >> there's a lot of emotion in this case. and you know, i have yet to try a case where witnesses are eager to come forward. almost every witness is reluctant to come forward. nobody wants 0 come and testify. a lot of people are uncomfortable even talking to the police. so this defense attorney has drawn out that she did
.s. senate. the most sweeping reform to immigration in decades. >>> on the stand, george zimmerman's defense team goes after a key witness for the prosecution in a day of compelling testimony in florida. >>> and a breakthrough in the fight against macular degeneration. doctors say it could help millions see clearly once again. "nightly news" begins now. >>> good evening. nbc news has learned the former number two man in the joint chiefs at the pentagon, a now retired marine corps four-star general with a close working relationship with president obama is under investigation for leaking a top secret government project according to legal sources. it was called the stuxnet virus. it wormed its way into computers that helped control iran's nuclear program. it did a lot of damage, but the then officials say the leak of its existence to "the new york times" did its own damage to u.s. efforts against iran. at the time of the leak, the president vowed to find the person responsible. now comes our report tonight. his name is james cartwright, known as hos, his call sign as a fighter pilot. tonight he
to try the best he can to make sounds like he could be a prosecution witness instead of the defense witness. so far, not much luck. this is redirect. let's listen. >>. >> all right. identification, it's marked for identification purposes. >> i see it, yes, thank you. >> may i approach the witness, your honor? >> yes, you may. >> this is marked for identification purposes 25. >> this should be 2-s. >> i apologize, just read it. and' if you used the words in there. ye yes. >> i don't know if that's what's going on. >> i don't know if it's impeachment or recollection. >> okay. >> i'll withdraw it then until we see where it goes. >>. >> i say ground, getting hit. >> okay. >> but you will agree in that interview with the first officer, you did not use the words "ground and pound"? . >> it wasn't an interview, it was a written statement. >> i apologize. >> so by the time i gaich gaiv gavepy testimony to serino, i might have thought that's what it looked like to give a better description. >> yes, sir. >> and you believed that you used the words "ground and pound" in the better description
thousand started. >> let's go to the law. you two are lawyers. this seems to be classic self-defense, and zimmerman's stories and injuries are -- are buttressed together now with the does he not have a right, if he's getting ground and pound, mma style, straddled and thinks his life is in jeopardy, does he not legally to defend himself? >> he has the right to defend himself with the amount of force placed on him. if the gun is there, maybe trayvon went for the gun, he has the gun. this is the situation he's in in a split-second decision in a human being being pound upon. a tremendous amount of witness testimony now that this was the situation. >> real quick. one frustrated prosecutor here. >> just waiting my turn. the justification in florida, stand your ground, does not apply. out the window if you provoke the attack. and to me as a lawyer, i'm telling the jury that he prov e provoked the attack. i'll give you the justification at first or right to defend yourself, but a question of degree and you have to do everything you have to retreat and then you can only use like force. he di
. the defense ended up apologizing to the jury for something they said. anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? yes! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. live the regular life. phillips'. live the regular life. this is what matters. the experience of a product. how will it make someone feel? will it make life better? does it deserve to exist? we spend a lot of time on a few great things. until every idea we touch enhances each life it touches. you may rarely look at it. but you'll always feel it. this is our signature. and it means everything. i tthan probablycare moreanyone else.and we've had this farm for 30 years. we raise black and red angus cattle. we also produce natural gas. that's how we make our living and that's how we can pass the land and water back to future generations. people should make up their own mind what's best for them. all i can say is it has worked well for us. >>> crime and punishment tonight. the trial of george zimmerman began today with an f-bomb an
, and i think that was part of the problem for the defense because this went on for so long and the longer it went on, the more people began to observe exactly what you were saying, is that here you had a man that is an expert at talking to witnesses. here you have a young lady that probably never had to testify in the national spotlight before and she did seem to hold up. did she speak the way most people would speak? no, she didn't use the king's english or anything like that, but she did hold firm to what she maintained, and as i say, that courtroom really was taking sides. some rooting and some not believing what they were hearing. >> martin savidge, another gripping day in court. thank you very much indeed. i'll bring in natalee jackson, she's an attorney for trayvon martin's family. natalee, welcome back to the show. >> thanks for having me. >> fascinating day and really about this young lady rachel. you know her better than i do and most people. tell me about her. what kind of woman is she? >> well, actually, i've only met her once but i'll tell you this is a person that did not wan
in self defense? the case ended its second day today. we turn to my new "nightline" co-anchor, dan abrams. >> state versus george zimmerman. >> reporter: in a sanford, florida, courtroom, a jury of six women listened to the second day of testimony in the trial of george zimmerman, accused of murdering 17-year-old trayvon martin as he walked home from a 7-eleven. >> did you see any movement from trayvon martin's body as you approached him? >> no, sir, i did not. >> reporter: pictures of trayvon martin and the infamous hoodie that he was wearing were shown in court today, it was almost too much for his mother. george zimmerman, who has been staying in hiding, gained over 100 pounds. the 29-year-old became a divisive symbol of racism. it all started when martin was walking in a gated community where his father was staying, having purchased a drink and skittles. it was there that he captured the attention of george zimmerman, neighborhood watchman, who called police. >> this guy looks like he is up to no good, it is raining, he is just out walking about. >> reporter: one of the most important
in the shooting death of 17-year-old trayvon martin. he has pled not guilty claiming self-defense. msnbc's craig melvin joins me live from outside the courthouse in sanford. i have to say, craig, if the prosecutor wanted to get our attention and more particularly that of those six women on the jury, he certainly accomplished that. >> yeah, he certainly did, chris. and john guy still going right now. he's about 30 minutes into that opening statement. throughout much of the opening statement, john guy as he has been recounting the last hours and minutes of 17-year-old trayvon martin's life, we have seen sabriybrina fulton in the courtroom, wiping her eyes, tracy martin, trayvon martin's father, also in court as well wiping his eyes. there was some housekeeping that started at 9:01, judge nelson called this thing to order. they spent about 20 minutes haggling over a number of things, the attorneys did. the lawyers haggled most over who should remain in the courtroom, ultimately the judge decided that george zimmerman's wife and family should be removed based on laws of court in the state of florida
at 10:00 a.m., to find out whether the defense of marriage act is constitutional, whether the core, the pillar of our civil rights architecture and self-governance will survive. we did find out the supreme court did not, did not take an opportunity to put the final dagger in affirmative action in higher education. affirmative action and higher education has survived for now. instead, the courts sent the case, fisher v. the university of texas back to a lower court for reconsideration. in that decision, we learned less about the future of affirmative action in this country than we did about the opinion of justice clarence thomas. clarence thomas has spent most of his adult life railing against affirmative action and decrying his own experience with it. this is the man who famously took his yale law school diploma and put a 15-cent sticker on it saying that's all it was worth because of the school's affirmative action enrollment policy. today thomas got a chance to absolutely unleash on race-based college admissions. he wrote a hung dinger of concurring opinion that basically compare
zimmerman killed the teen, but whether it was done in self-defense or murder. we've seen so many images from this story but the first time we've seen the images of trayvon martin himself laying dead on the ground. it was a shock to the courtroom and the jury, as well, to see just a young teen lying life less on the ground. they had tremendous impact and humanized up to now has been an argument between defense and prosecution. those images extremely powerful, piers? >> martin, what were the key points that came out from the evidence? it seemed to me one of them, there is no evidence apparently of dna on the gun. how significant could that be, of trayvon martin's dna i should say? >> there is an issue because there is talk there may have been a struggle over the weapon, and that at one point trayvon martin put his hand on the gun, reached for the gun. so to figure out whose dna, especially his would be significant. however, there will be those that argue, good, it was not good weather-wise that night and raining a lot. so in the hours it took to process, the scene, some of that dna could be wa
. the democrats are coming to her defense? >> democrats said lerner did what the constitution allows her to do. >> mr. gowdy would have you believe that the fact she made a statement at all constitutes a wafer of the constitute right not to self incriminate. >> that is a constitutional right to thumb your nose at the government. >> what happens next could get interesting. if the house over sight committee calls her back it answer questions. lerner could provide answers or bloweds the fifth. if she pleads the fifth they would be able to hold her in contempt. >> a constitutional right to thumb your nose at the government. we'll watch this one, molly, thank you. >> fox weather alert. a dangerous heatwave out west. temperatures soaring to 115 degrees and death valley, california, expected to reach 130 this weekend. with the scorching temperatures a lot of concern for people and their pets. the extreme heat could ground airlines. airline officials will keep a close eye on the weather and as we told you, hotter air affects air density and changes liftoff conditions and they may make the decision to
said "yes," yes to same-sex marriage this morning, repealing both doma, the defense of marriage act, and proposition 8 in the state of california. president obama, who is right now on air force one, on his way to his african tour, was quick to put out this tweet. have a look at this. today's doma ruling is a historic step forward for marriage equality, love is love. there you have it. melissa etheridge joins me live now on the telephone from new york. melissa, it's no secret that you have been not only married yourself, but you have four children. this has been a very big case for you. this has been almost life's work for you. i want to get your initial reactions to hearing these decisions today. >> oh, love is love and america is beautiful. it's a wonderful day. it's a wonderful day for america, for all its citizens, and for our amazing constitution. and just, you know, god bless america and the forefathers that put this sort of document in place that could withstand this sort of questioning and this sort of putting to test of our diversity in america, and our civil rights. it's ju
breaking down in tears. she also faced a tough cross examination from the zimmerman defense team. that lasted about an hour and a half and will continue tomorrow. here's a key part of her testimony when she describes that final call with trayvon martin. >> he just told me -- he just told me to try and lose him by start walking back home. because the rain come a little bit down. >> so mr. martin told you he was going to try to lose the man? >> yeah. by start walking home. >> okay. and did you say anything to him? >> no. we were just talking. and then he just told me the man following him now. then he said he's following me now. >> after mr. martin said the n word and said he's following me, what happened then? >> he just told me and then i told him run. he said no. >> okay. you told him to run? >> yeah. >> and what did, if anything, did mr. martin say? >> he said no. he was almost right there -- he almost right by his dad's fiance's house. >> did you say anything to him at that time? >> i told him you better run. and he had told me he almost by his daddy fiance house. he said why
defense attorney. all right. ground and pound. one eye witness so far this, is the prosecution witness. ground and pound, mma style straddled him. fists going down. screams from zimmerman ask zimmerman's injuries consistent with what this eye witness is saying. this is a, as far as i'm concerned this case is over today. do you disagree sth. >> i'm with you until last two things you said. as far as who is screaming it may have been, i haven't decided based on -- he said he assumed it was zimmerman. he said that is who he expected it to be. >> you know, it was not a good day. not the way the prosecution wants to end the week, i'll give you that. i agree he was a good witness for the defense but it's good for the prosecution in this. what he said sthae did not see zimmerman having his head beaten into the ground on this cement. he said it. >> i didn't see the head hit the concrete was his quote. he said i didn't see that. he was worried of seeing someone on top of someone else screaming for help. he's worried and defined incident as zimmerman on the bottom, trayvon on top. >> straddled mm
's position of self-defense as a tangled web of lies. >> we are confident at the end of this trial you will know in your head, in your heart, in your stomach, that george zimmerman did not shoot trayvon martin because he had to. he shot him for the worst of all reasons, because he wanted to. >> the state's 30 minute presentation was in stark contrast to the defense's opening statement, which lasted almost three hours. and surprisingly, began with a joke. >> knock knock, who's there? george zimmerman. george zimmerman who? all right, good. you're on the jury. there wasn't a single laugh, just silence. >> nothing? >> attorney don west using photographs, walked the jury through the defense team's time line, including the 911 call which captured the fatal shot. >> what is your position -- >> just heard gunshots. >> defense painted martin as the one who lunged from the darkness. >> trayvon martin decided to confront george zimmerman. instead of going home, he had plenty of time, he had -- this is what, 60, 70 yards -- plenty of time, could have gone back and forth four or five times if he w
zimmerman as a, quote, cracker. today the defense revisited that issue. >> describing the person is what made you think it was racial. >> yes. >> that's because he described him as a creepy ass cracker? >> yes. >> so it was racial, but it was because trayvon martin put race in this. >> no. >> you don't think hats a racial comment? >> no. >> you don't think that creepy ass cracker is a racial comment? >> no. >> not racial? okay. according to jeantel, that's apparently just how people talk. >> my question is, do you recall mr. west asking you that trayvon martin referred to the man that was following him as a creepy white cracker? >> yes, sir, sir. >> and to you is that a derogatory or is that the way people speak in your culture, your age group? >> objection. leading. suggesting an answer. >> overruled. >> yes, sir. >> at another point today, the defense grilled jeantel about a letter she had a friend write on her behalf to trayvon martin's parents. >> are you able to read that copy well enough that you can tell us if it's in fact the same letter? >> no. >> are you unable to read that at
and veteran defense attorney. it started out nice enough, rachel jeantel seemed to have adopted a more respectful tone. >> yes, sir. >> reporter: but it wasn't long before her yes, sirs seemed to take on a sharper edge. >> yes, sir. >> reporter: defense attorney don west was out to discredit her testimony that george zimmerman was the aggressor and pointed to numerous changes in her story in previous accounts including a letter to trayvon's mother, describing what she heard. in it, she left out trayvon's derogatory racial language. >> you specifically chose not to tell ms. fulton that's what trayvon said. >> no. >> because you thought it would hurt her feelings, didn't you? >> no. >> you didn't think that would bother her, if you said that her son described the man that was following him in a car on the phone -- >> i didn't think. >> was a creepy ass cracker. >> i did not think that was important. >> not important enough to put in the letter. >> no. >> and not important enough to tell her. >> no. >> reporter: she said martin sounded tired on the phone like he was running but she said h
the defense is going with her testimony is she was trying to help the martin family, and that's why her story has evolved, because she felt sorry for them. initially she said she thought this was just a fight and that's why she didn't call the police. now she says he's being stalked and his final words were "get off, get off." and so i think the defense can characterize this in a way that is respectful to her but also makes their point. >> in this morning's testimony, don west tried to establish a string of inconsistencies in her descriptions of events. here's one. >> you lied because you wanted to give a plausible answer to ms. fulton as to why you didn't go the wake? >> yes, sir. but on the april 2nd interview, you were, in fact, under oath. >> yes, sir. >> you knew that. >> yes, sir. >> you made a decision because of how difficult the situation you had just been put in, you decided to lie about going to the hospital rather than say something that might be painful? >> yes, sir. >> lisa bloom, if likability is a factor in this, i think that don west and rachel jeantel have some degree of par
the 1996 defensive marriage act unconstitutional. that law effectively denied federal benefits to gay couples married under state laws. hampton pearson was at the seem court today and has more on today's rulings and what they mean. >> reporter: the two landmark rulings from the supreme court were greeted by cheers from the huge crowd of mostly gay marriage supporters who gathered. the justices giving new legal options to same sex couples. it's forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage in the 12 states and district of columbia where it is legal. in a 5-4 decision the justices overturned the defensive marriage act. doma that denied benefits to same-sex couples. justice anthony kennedy said doma writes inequality into the code and justice skolia said it's one to elect change, it's for a court of law to impose change but judging those who oppose it as enemies of the human race. president obama while in route to africa applauded the doma decision and directed eric holder to review all federal laws related to today's ruling. constitutional law experts say that's just the
suddenly chaos erupts during a showdown over abortion in texas. >>> in her defense. paula deen's emotional appearance this morning on "today" followed by news tonight of another loss to her one-time food empire. "nightly news" begins now. >>> good evening. gay couples across this country were today handed a sweeping victory by a majority of the justices of the supreme court. they took on two cases. one to allow married partners full federal benefits, the other having to do with gay marriage in california. like so many other things in modern times, the framers of the constitution could not have foreseen this issue. they of course made no mention of same-sex couples in the constitution. and while the justices did not suddenly make gay marriage the law of the land, they did strike down barriers in the states that have allowed it so far in what's being called the most important ruling ever on gay rights. we have it all covered tonight beginning with pete williams at the court. good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. the court didn't go as far as gay rights advocates had hoped. it did n
, but will some of them end up helping the defense? >> oh, big time. and i think yesterday we really saw it with jonathan good. here you had exactly what the defense was looking for. the defense says, hey, wait. george zimmerman didn't go gunning to assassinate trayvon martin. george zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer, according to the defense, saw some specific activity, and at some point somehow he winds up in a scuffle with trayvon martin and he's on the bottom. he's being pummelled. he's the one in fear of his own life. so jonathan good comes along, called by the prosecution, and what does he say? the man on the bottom was george zimmerman. that's huge for the defense. absolutely huge. >> ricki, the trial began with the defense attorney in his opening statement telling him knock-knock jokes. i don't know how well that went over with the jury. it maybe impossible to tell. he also had testimony exchanged with one of the witnesses. what impact do you think that will be? >> i think there are different impacts. the studies are region. i've been talking about this as long as i ca
, especially the defense spending a lot of time on race, how do you think that played out? >> it was hard to tell from the courtroom. it didn't seem to advance the ball much for the defense. they made much to do about the comment that trayvon martin said to rachel. he also described george zimmerman with the "n" word. certainly, he described him in two ways, with a derogatory white term and derogatory black term. they took pains not to talk about race and didn't say racial profiling, took the elephant in the room, painted it bright pink and i don't think it stuck. >> mark, what do you think? >> i tell you, you put a spin on this that is mind boggling. this sounds like a very sweet girl. i'm sure her parents love her. everybody is texting me, they want to know where you got your necklace. >> oh. >> the thing that remains is this was a disaster. the family realizes, trayvon's family realizes it was a disaster. crump is prepared for any verdict. they know where it is headed. this is the star witness. the wheels came off and it was a train wreck. there's no way to soft pedal it. this was a co
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